This is pure Updike! A must read for any avid fan of his. In a world of dangling participles and sentence ending prepositions, his command of proper language mechanics is always refreshing. And, once again, Updike excels in his research of past and present times, of foreign locales, and of his own creations. Although, am I misreading, or does he have, at one point, the Old Stone Bank doubled in size while all else has been updated to the twenty-first century?
Theyre baaaack! Part 1 updates the reader on the trio post-Eastwick: their remarriages and death of their spouses. It is also a travelogue through Canada, Egypt, and China during which those darling witches are reunited in widowhood. A wink by Maos cadaver, then the march of Chins terra cotta soldiers at Xian, and theyre off for more diabolical shenanigans. In Part 2, our triumvirate of widows has reunited for a vacation as it were and also to renew old ties. Where, you ask? Why Eastwick of course, where, since their departure, the old Van Horne mansion been converted into condos. They rent condo suites there: a refurbished area that was the site of some of their spicier assignations in the good old days. In town they meet many of their former beaus and foes and we are treated to recollections of the prime of the Witches. In Part 3, our witches reerect their cone of power only to have one stricken during the session and die from an aneurysm. The survivors discover an old acquaintance from the Van Horne days who had put the evil eye on her; he threatens the others with a similar fate, but then backs off. One witch heads home; the other beds down with him. True to the old Updike form there are sexual overtones throughout, but not until the end does he become colorful (almost clinical) in his description of the head witch applying her extraordinary talent. Then, summer is over and the survivors go their separate ways in an open-ended finale that would have left the door open for a perpetuation of the coven.